Google Voice – The Killer Business Phone Service?

I recently took a test drive of the much-hyped Google Voice service. If you are not familiar with Google Voice, it is the latest "app" in a series of great collaboration tools from the giant, Google, to come to fruition. It allows you to get a single phone number and route incoming calls to any other phone number you own based on personalized routing settings.

The service is based on GrandCentral, which Google acquired a couple of years ago. I am lucky enough to have a an account as a previous holder of a GrandCentral account. As of today (when I wrote this article), only previous GrandCentral customers are lucky enough to have an account.

What is Google Voice for?
If you are a like me, you have multiple phones, phone numbers and email addresses. You are on the run (constantly) and you have many people trying to reach you at all times. Google Voice helps you by giving you ONE phone number to announce to the world and lets you configure your inbound calls to "Find You" wherever you are.

How Does It Work?
Callers who dial your number are prompted to announce their name while the service "searches" for you on whatever phone you are currently using. When you pick up the inbound call, Google Voice tells you who is calling and gives you the option to answer or send to voicemail.

There are some additional nice features including voicemail transcript, SMS and conference calling.

Is this right for your business?
If you are a one-person team, this is great for you. You will never be out of reach. If you are a company with, let's say, 25 employees, you need a full-scale business phone system and should look for other options. For a multi-person business, Google falls short in its ability to help colleagues stay connected behind a set of PBX-like features such as extension dialing, auto-attendant, corporate directory, multi-person ACD queues and more.

To get the virtual aspects of Google Voice, a multi-person company should look at a hosted business phone service. There are plenty of business VoIP solutions such as hosted PBX, many of which incorporate some of the find-me anywhere features at the user level inherent in Google Voice.

While I don't think Google Voice is quite ready for corporate deployments as a complete phone service alternative, kudos to Google for snapping up GrandCentral and bringing it to the mainstream. I was a fan back in the day and will continue to use it!



Source by [lakajira]

Let's Know About Business Process Management

BUSINESS PROCESS MANAGEMENT

Business process management (BPM) is a systematic and business solution approach to make an organization's workflow, more efficient and more capable of adapting to an ever-changing environment. It allows all the processes to run smoothly and effectively. It is a way that leads to the "process optimization". BPM views a business as a set of processes or workflows or we can also say that it is a set of activities that are to be performed for the overall development of the firm. BPM Software is software which enables businesses to model, implement, execute, monitor and optimize their processes.

The goal of BPM is to reduce human error and miscommunication and focus neighbors on the requirements of their roles. BPM is a subset of infrastructure management, an administrative area concerned with maintaining and optimizing an organization's equipment and core operations. For running this infrastructure we require some BPM tools that are as follows:

1. Planning and budgeting
2. Key performance indicators (KPIs)
3. Balanced scorecard (BSC)
4. Benchmarking
5. Business excellence model
6. Enterprise risk management (ERM)
7. Six sigma
8. Performance dashboards
9. Customer relationship management (CRM)
10. Performance appraisals

These are the tools or sub-system components residing within BPM, that plays a major role in the organization development.

BPM SOLUTIONS

Horizontal BPM Solutions:

These are those BPM solutions that can be applied across several industries. Horizontal frameworks deal with design and development of business processes and are generally focused on technology and reuse.

Vertical BPM Solutions:

BPM solutions that are specific to a particular industry or type of process. Vertical BPM frameworks focus on a specific set of coordinated tasks and have pre-built templates that can be readily configured and deployed.

BPM Life Cycle

The BPM life cycle follows a chain of steps that are as follows:

Design

Process design encompasses both the identification of existing processes and the design of the processes. Areas of focus include representation of the process flow, the factors within it, alerts and notifications, escalations, standard operating procedures, service level agreements, and task hand-over mechanisms. What processes should be present or what process are not required are to be done under this stage.

Modeling

Modeling takes the theoretical design and introduces combinations of observations that are needed for the further steps. It determines how the process might operate under different circumstances.

For example- "What if I have 70% of resources to do the same task?" "What if I want to do the same job for 80% of the current cost?" ..

Execution

It takes care of, how these applications rarely execute all the steps of the process accurate or completely. Another approach is to use a combination of software and human intervention; However this approach is more complex, making the documentation process difficult. Business rules have been used by systems to provide definitions for governing behavior, and a business rule engine can be used to drive process execution and resolution.

Monitoring

Monitoring encompasses the tracking of individual processes, so that information on their state can be easily seen, and statistics on the performance of one or more processes can be provided. An example of this tracking is being able to determine the state of a customer order (eg order arrived, awaiting delivery, invoice paid) so that problems in its operation can be identified and corrected.

In addition, this information can be used to work with customers and suppliers to improve their connected processes. Here Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) extends and expands the monitoring tools generally provided by BPMS.

Optimization

Process optimization includes retrieving the best of the process performance. It is the most important phase of the life cycle of the BPM as the main goal of the BPM is to get optimized processes.

Reengineering

When the process becomes too noisy and optimization is not fetching the desired output, it is recommended to re-engineer the entire process cycle. Business Process Reengineering (BPR) has been used by organizations to attempt to achieve efficiency and productivity at work.



Source by [lakajira]

American Business Ideas

A History

American business ideas and the people whom came up with them are by far some of the most innovative and forward thinking people in the world. Americans are now and have always been, in general, very creative people but it seems that American business people have found ways to turn the needs of the masses into successful business models. Even as early as the Revolutionary War when a group of sea baring men called Privateers were in business to help support the meager naval fleet against the enemies, for a fee of course.

The earliest great American business ideas were land companies. They would cordon off a section of land and sell the parcels for a tidy profit. People were so hungry to own land they would literally race for the parcel that most suited them. As the country grew so did the formation of companies that could provide products for the American population. There were the "big" industries like transportation, public works, communication, publishing, and utilities as well as more specialized businesses like pencil making, clock making, and candle making, etc. Personal services were some other great ideas for businesses; dressmaking, hairdressing, and the like.

American Business Ideas – The People

Great American business ideas and business models have been the bedrock for many of our most famous and wealthy business people. From Jefferson to Gutenberg, Rockefeller to Carnegie, and today's Walton family (Wal-Mart), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Michael Dell (Dell Computers), and Mark Zuckerman (Facebook), these are people whom have found huge economic success by coming up with great ideas to base businesses on.

American Business Ideas – The 21st Century

Of course these are all extraordinary people who have come up with extraordinary ideas. What ideas are good for the ordinary person looking to be their own boss and work from the comfort of their own home office? One of the fastest growing and most forward thinking American business ideas for work at home entrepreneurs is the business of online marketing. This is a field that allows ordinary people to make extraordinary income. The idea of ​​reaching billions of people, not just in America but worldwide, that might take a good look at your business or product can be extremely profitable. Most people today already have a home computer and internet connection and it is not necessary to attain any sort of degree of higher learning, which makes internet marketing a very accessible career for any entrepreneur. In addition, training is readily available through various "internet gurus" who give "webinars" and "teleseminars" to teach you what techniques and strategies are working right now.

Will you be the next Randolph Hearst or Steve Jobs? Well, maybe. Can you get into a field that is fast becoming a great American business idea? Yes, you can. Find a product or company that you want to promote and get some training from experienced people in the field and you will be well on your way. With drive and creativity, with passion and perseverance, the sky is the limit for your ultimate success in the 21st Century's best American business idea.



Source by [lakajira]

Data, Customer Experience and Today’s Company

Data is the pedestal on which superior customer service is built on, especially in these times more than ever. Business entities need to start viewing their customer base as individuals and not as a collection of people. Each individual has likes, preferences and patterns that can be analyzed and used to offer services and products tailored to each individual’s need. Data analytics is the surest way to do this.

Data-driven customer experience holds the key to the future success of businesses especially in this cut-throat competitive economy. The importance of putting data at the center of customer service is all encompassing. It impacts on revenue, cost, processes and quality. Also, customers now interact with businesses across various channels and businesses have to deliver consistent personalized services across these different channels to different people and they have to do this smartly. Data has to be adequately gathered across all channels, on-field and off-field to better serve the customer and grow the business.

Customer preferences and reservations can be gotten when everyone works together. Salespeople, the guy at the front-desk, the research guys and so on. When everyone works together and communicates findings, a picture of the customer begins to form. These picture needs to be shared with the guys at the back-end building stuffs and the products and services must be aligned to the findings. Processes have to be in place to make all these seamless. A perfect picture of the customer may not be gotten but enough can be gathered that will positively impact the customer experience. The process must never end. It has to be an ongoing process… always.

A serious 21st century business needs to start taking data analytics very seriously. The benefits far outweigh the costs. Knowing everything about your customers will serve no purpose unless the bits and pieces are properly analyzed and integrated with the right technology, then a pattern emerges that can be further used and manipulated to offer greater specified services tailored to each person’s need. Everybody wins.

Data is important and so are the people who work with them and manage the systems. Their ability to properly interpret the info and integrate at the back-end for optimum results and better processes is key. The process should be built in such a way that executives can access relevant customer related info and in a simplified format and make decisions that elevates CX.

When all is said and done, the benefits of a data-driven customer experience are numerous and outweigh the costs. Targeting and re-targeting of potential and previous customers, offering consistent experience for customers across multiple channels of interaction, ability to predict customer behavior and prep for it, focusing on the touch-points that yield the best results and coordinating around these. The list goes on.



Source by [lakajira]

Is Online Business Optional?

Today I would like to discuss with you this simple question
– is it optional for you to be involved in some sort of
online business or is it a modern life necessity?

Let's see … Are you a multi-millionaire? Are you a business
executive or well paid professional – doctor, lawyer,
programmer, etc? Are you a small business owner or you're a
stay-at-home mom?

Did I miss any group in between? Probably I did. Anyway, it
does not really matter who you currently are, what matters
is who you're going to be in the future.

If you're multi-millionaire, you most likely already have an
online division implemented as part of your business model.
You know that billions of people use Internet these days,
millions more join each and every day to find anything they
want – information, services, products, ideas, the list goes
on and on to infinity – whatever you think of – you name it,
and chances are pretty good that you can find it on the Net
(even if you're unable to find anything – let's say you're
inventing something new, online resources are invaluable for
the research of the works previously done in your area of
interest).

So as a multi-millionaire you definitely wouldn't want to
miss such a huge market or your competitors will eat you
alive.

If you're a well-paid professional or executive working for
a big corporation, online business could be a great way to
legally reduce your taxes, as a business owner you could
write-off a lot of expenses. You might argue that you can do
this with any other business you own, you don't necessarily
have to have the online business for this purpose. And my
answer is – Yes and No. You see, I don't know any business
You can start so easily and inexpensively as your online
business.

To open a franchise, you need a few hundred thousands
dollars, to open any brick and mortar business you need from
Fifty to a hundred thousands (may be less sometimes, but not
very often).

It takes only a few thousands to start your online business
(and this includes registration fees, professional website
design, initial marketing, etc).

Besides, even if you're paid rather well, you still wouldn't
mind to have additional streams of passive income, wouldn't
you? I don't know any off-line business that can be run on
auto-pilot. But there are hundreds examples of successful
online businesses that run on auto-pilot.

Ok, who's next? A small business owner? Well, is your
business booming? Do you have enough clients? And even if
You do, are you able to interact with them easily and
effectively?

Here's how your own website could help you. First of all,
Internet is the hugest market known to the mankind and it's
so diverse that you will be able to sell anything there,
from the most weirdest product you could imagine to any
service.

If your services are international – then, by developing the
online part of your business, you will increase your market
not tenfold, you will increase it in thousands of times.

If your business is local by it's nature, there are also
dozens of online marketing techniques you can use to
increase your clientele.

You're saying you have enough clients, can't handle
anymore? Well, first of all, in this case why don't you
expend? And, second, are you able to communicate with your
clients as fast as you want?

Let's say you have 300 clients and you need to tell them
quickly about something urgent (for example, you change your
schedule or you have an emergency and can't take clients for
a week, etc). How would you handle this? Tell your secretary
to call all 300 clients? How much time do you think will it
take for her to make these calls?

Well organized online business is structured in such a way
that you don't even have to think about this problem, it's
taken care of automatically.

What if your client have some urgent question on weekend and
You're not working on weekend? Too bad, you just lost your
client, client went to your competitor's website and found
the answer in his database of Frequently Asked Questions,
and then automatically booked the appointment with your
competitor for the closest date available …

You got the idea. Your website, if it's created by
professionals, gives your clients the ability to communicate
with you 24/7, even if you're not around to personally
answer their questions.

Hope you see by now that for small business not to have a
website is not an option.

Who's left? Stay-at-home moms and dads? Let's summarize what
we have so far as benefits of online business: the most
inexpensive way to start a business, unlimited market for
your products or services, automatic streams of constantly
growing income (otherwise known as passive income), more
time you're able to spend with your family and loved ones as
a result …. Geeez, I think for moms and dads the question –
whether to start online business as a source of supplemental
income – must be a really difficult one (I'm just a little
ironical here).

So, what should you do if you still don't have a website?
That's easy – get up off your back bone and contact
professional web designers!

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Source by [lakajira]

Online Shop

Business involves a lot of speculation. When numerous competitors are there, it is hard to achieve success in business. In addition to providing quality service, a service oriented business has to ensure that the service reaches the genuine need. Industries are and so are business opportunities and service providers. There are direct service providers as well as intermediaries. Active involvement in a business often runs the risk of losing the investment and running the business process is a cumbersome affair. Service providing business is an easy alternative with less risk and more flexibility. The information on various businesses will be valuable for people to choose their service provider. After the computer revolution, one can easily find the necessary information on business services from the web directories to.

Online shopping is the most recent phenomenon in the Indian online space. Men and women of all ages visit the Commerce websites regularly and sell the necessaries of life.

Men from far and near visit online marketplaces to sell goods. The most striking feature in online market is that it is free of large crowd and noise. A person can visit the online shopping site during his free time and place orders to buy an item.Many people make their daily purchases online. Today, there are online shops even of grocers. Rice, pulse, oil, and stationary goods are also bought online. The online grocery stores also sell fruits, vegetables, potato, onions, bread, butter, etc.

There are online shopping websites that sell toys, paper, exercise books etc.

There are Commerce websites to buy products for babies. They sell almost everything that a kid may ever need.

The most important advantage of online shopping is that we can compare the prices of various items across several Commerce website. In this way, we are assured the best deal. The online electronic stores sell various electronic products at competitive prices. We can buy mobile phones, televisions, refrigerators from the convenience of our home.

Most of the leading online shopping website allows the customers to pay cash on delivery of the products. Hence, the risk of online money transfer gets mitigated. Indian Festivals Indian Constitution History of Akbar Freedom Fighters of India Family System Education Ecosystem Communication Buddhism Battles and Wars in India Art and Architecture Agriculture in India
CATEGORIES With the development of modern technology, Internet offers people more and more convenience. With the help of the Internet, people can do a lot of things without going out, like paying bills, watching movies, studying online and so on.Well doing shopping online is not always a perfect thing, it also has disadvantages. It seems easy and quick, but there's always always a trap online. If you are careless, it will bring you some troubles. For example, if you order a cloth online, at the moment you get the item, you may find that the color is different from what you saw online, or the size is either too small or too big because it is not available to try on before ordering, or the material of the cloth is not what you want. There are also many swindlers waiting for you to bargain with. You would pay for the article but couldn't get anything ultimately. Many people choose shopping online also because they can't stand that crowded and noisy environment. For shopping online, they just need to choose the article they want and pay online, and then shopping is finished. To most people, shopping is not a hard and anguished job anymore, they can just stay at home, click the mouse, spend several minutes to get what they want without stepping out of the room or standing in line for checking.



Source by [lakajira]

Inbound IVR

IVR Services – Inbound
Automated IVR systems enables callers to dial a 800 number and interact directly with information stored in a database through either touchtone or voice activated prompts. This translates into expert-designed solutions which are easily navigated by your callers wanting information.

Small businesses to Fortune 500 companies are benefiting from an inbound IVR Service. Businesses need to route calls quickly, accurately and economically in order to meet the precise complex needs of today's customer. Listed below are examples of inbound IVR which have a dramatic impact on your bottom line.

IVR Applications:
Business Productivity
Employment pre-screening, automated customer service, order taking and status, dealer / office location, account information, help desk inquiries, new product introductions and telephone call routing.

Marketing
Contest line, point redemption line, voice contest, scratch and win, sales and service surveys, market research applications and endless different promotions all will benefit from an IVR System.

Financial
Past due information, last payment received, telephone banking, loan and mortgage applications, stock information, posting of current interest rates and terms, real time account balances, and automated loan applications

Media
Subscription information and fulfillment, merchandise ordering, sports information, classified ad responses, membership renewal, pay per view ordering and politial and product surveys.

Education
Crisis communications, absentee notifications, talking grades, homework hotline, course information and registration, exam and course results.

Healthcare
Payment tracking, claims processing and billing, healthcare information, admittance and discharge records, inventory reports, office locations and operating hours.

Government
Environmental issues and surveying, emergency notification, licensing, fine and penalty information and service information.



Source by [lakajira]

The Best Internet Business

What Is The Best Internet Business?

There are several Web Host giants on the internet that provide private label rebranding to small business owners. This might be the best opportunity to “piggyback” on well-established businesses if you are just starting out in internet marketing. This gateway for unlimited wealth is made possible due to the growing demand of digital marketing in regions that are outside the scope of these large corporations.

In order to gain a share of the market, these corporate web companies offer reseller plans to small businesses which take their products and services, rebrand them and sell to business owners at a profit. These products include domain name services, web hosting, online storage, business productivity software, and tools.

There is quite an advantage in being a small business retailer because one is able to customize their business at the local level and meet the demands of their growing market on the World Wide Web. Let’s look at the definition of digital marketing to understand why the demand has grown significantly over the past decades.

What Is Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing involves all functions that are geared toward promoting online business activities. This includes but is not restricted to products and services in subcategories such as Domain Name registration, web hosting, email marketing, web design and development, software applications, sales and marketing, social media marketing and consultation, and all medium through which businesses and individuals advertise and market their products online.

Retail Marketing

Retail Marketing refers to activities geared toward end users of a web-based business solution such as domain names registration, web design services, software apps for business and personal use, social media management, web hosting and other activities that promote online communication.

As the need for business solutions intensifies, business persons become increasingly concerned about meeting the demands of the online industry, and therefore the Pros and Cons of the internet business become relevant.

The Cons of Digital Marketing

One would think that the more customers you have, is the more profits you are likely to acquire but the truth be told, the more the business will become more challenged due to competitors, need for online bandwidth, web creativity, uniqueness, and need for customer service due to increase in customer queries and the need for technical support.

The Pros of Digital Marketing

Fortunately, some web hosting reseller business plan come with independent customer service team that manages concerns and queries of clients on their behalf. Another positive thing about being a domain reseller is the handling of payments and processing of sales. As a web hosting reseller, you are given the opportunity to re-price your products to earn commissions from your own business.

Another pro for being a reseller is the fact that starting your digital marketing business does not require an exorbitant startup cost nor high overhead expenses to operate effectively, nor initial products, compared to other online ventures. Products are sold through the distributors but your private label is displayed discreetly in the sales operation and therefore your business receives the credit!

How Do I Become A Web Hosting Reseller?

There are two ways to become a Web Hosting Reseller and Domain Name Registrar. One can sign up as an affiliate or an actual reseller.

  • An affiliate gets a commission from advertising online products that the Web company (suppliers) market, using links and codes on approved websites.
  • Reseller uses their own brand to market the Web Company’s products (supplier) and services at a higher rate of returns. End users see the reseller’s products and services as their company’s brand and not the Web Company’s image.

Affiliates display the name of the wholesaler or provider (Web Company) through banner advertisements and other forms of internet marketing, similar to a franchising arrangement.

How Much Does It Cost To Run A Web Hosting and Domain Name Business?

It is very alarming to find out the actual cost of starting your own internet business. The subscription for a reseller license varies from $89-$499 annually and it depends on the provider or web company. Most persons prefer to do business with Web companies that offer a variety of affordable products and services. Once a business plan is purchased, one can start selling immediately online.

Some Web companies provide a retail storefront with the domain name search field. Other features include the following:

  • Dedicated customer service team support for your clients
  • Marketing software to assist in promoting their brand online. Resellers are expected to purchase their domain name to start promoting their retail internet business.

Start Up Cost

There is no mandatory startup cost for a Web Hosting Business, however, it is suggested to start with at least $300-$500. This would include the cost of the subscription plan, a domain name for your business idea, a web designer to customize the storefront (optional), business cards and other marketing paraphernalia to help provide greater access to your target market.

There is reseller’s support, community pages, manuals and online support to help you succeed in making your business profitable.

The process of starting an internet business is simple, and while there could be challenges in securing a viable market in your region, there are no geographical restrictions. Savvy business operators stand a greater chance to earn real attractive residual income annually, in a relatively short time.

What To Expect as a Web Hosting Reseller

Business owners are able to tap into the tremendous wealth of the digital marketing business industry as it is one that never sleeps! It has often been said that you can earn money while you sleep, and since the internet generates over a billion dollars per day, more and more persons have experienced this reality. Currently, there are Web Hosting Resellers who are making $10-30K (USD) per month.

Once you are patient, open to exploring online business opportunities, and enthusiastic about providing internet business solutions for individuals and companies, then you are ready to build your digital empire.

After reading this article, if you are asked: “what is the best internet business?” I am quite sure that you are in a better position to give a logical answer. However, you must realize that no matter how skilled one is, or how many customers he or she has garnered to do business with, real success comes through smart teamwork. The late Steve Jobs once quoted; “Great things in business are never done by one person, they are done by a team of people.”



Source by [lakajira]

How to Find an Online Opportunity

If you are looking for a promising business opportunity, the best thing to do is to explore the wide range of opportunities available online.

An online job allows you to work at home. It enables you to offer your marketable skills and put them to good use. All you have to do is to hook up with a reliable online employer.

The Internet provides a variety of jobs. Just sift through all the information to find one that matches your skills.

If you are looking for a good honest job – and you have the necessary skills for it, you can become a freelancer.

There are countless employers looking for good people to hire. There are many jobs available, especially if you are a writer, web designer, graphic designer, programmer, or an expert in SEO and online marketing. You can work from home and be productive in your own business home.

It is easy to put up a based business home. You don’t need any capital to work free lance and earn money. You simply have to have the skills that the job requires.

It is not surprising that more and more individuals are offering some sort of business service online.

There are many online jobs for people with various skills and lines of expertise. There are jobs available even for students who are still in business school or for professionals looking for part-time jobs to augment their income. If you hope to establish an IT company but think that starting your business small is the best way to go, you can find opportunities online.

How do you look for prospective employers?

You can offer your services on your own website. Considering the somewhat limited reach of personal websites, however, you may have to wait for quite some time for responses to your offer.

You can also join a site that is designed primarily to connect service buyers with freelancers.

How do these sites operate?

Service buyers post jobs or projects on the site. Freelancers who find a particular project interesting make their bids. They offer a price and mention how long it will take them to complete the project. The service buyer will then make an offer to the person whom he thinks offers the best bid.

If you are hired for a certain project, you are expected to complete it on time. Your service buyer will go over the assignment and give you feedback about your work.

You build your reputation as a freelancer on such feedback. As you work on more and more assignments, and receive good feedback on your work, you slowly build your reputation as a reliable and proficient worker.

Service buyers are always on the look-out for freelancers whom they can trust to do a first-rate job. If you are able to turn in projects that consistently receive good feedback, you increase your opportunities for being hired.

If you are a beginner at freelance work, the key is to offer your services at a low price for your first projects. Your low bid will help you get more projects. Work on these projects well so that you get good feedback about your work.

As you build on the number of projects completed, as well as on the positive feedback, you will soon acquire a reputation as a dependable, efficient, and professional freelancer. You will find it easier to get more projects.

You can even bid higher on some projects. There are many service providers who do not mind paying extra just as long as they are guaranteed first-class work.

You can always find gainful business to business employment online. You can earn a lot of money even if you just stay at home.



Source by [lakajira]

BPM and Web Services

Today's IT executives want the best software available. With business process management that means finding solutions that provide key benefits. In addition to facilitating system integration, these solutions must minimize costs, protect software investments, and increase corporate flexibility – all while generating a quick return on investment (ROI).

Previously, IT executives had an option. They could either create their own processing solutions or buy them as packaged applications. Both approaches were costly. These solutions also had a major downside. Once encoded, they were difficult to change. This encoding prevented businesses from quickly meeting its customers' needs. More importantly, it hindered adaptability to a dynamic increasing demanding marketplace.

Combining BPM and Web services changes that. This union provides businesses with a powerful set of benefits. It increases efficiency and flexibility, reduces costs, and protects software investments by integrating and recombining with a existing company systems. In addition, the union provides real-time visibility into processing systems as well as a way to monitor and evaluate key performance indicators– the prerequisites needed to implement a continuous improvement program.

A Tactical Implementation of SOA

The foundation for BPM and Web services is a service-oriented architecture (SOA). Web services is a tactical implementation of SOA, which bridges the gap between businesses and IT through a set of business-aligned services using a unique set of design principles, patterns, and techniques.

SOA involves the dynamic discovery, organization, and description of services, which enables companies to select, bind, and invoke a service over the Internet. SOA differs from service-based architectures, like RosettaNet or OBI (Open Buying on the Internet), which focus on formats and protocols. A service-based architecture is part of an SOA.

Key SOA Components

The major components of an SOA are a service directory, a service provider, and a service requestor. The service directory contains information about all the available services. A service provider publishes a service by adding the appropriate entries to the directory, which a service requestor uses to find the appropriate service.

When a service requestor finds a match, it binds to the provider using information maintained by the directory. The binding information contains the protocol specifications that requestors must use as well as the structure of the request messages and the resulting responses. The two companies then form a "business partnership."

When the service requestor no longer needs the provider's services, it dissolves the partnership. It then forms new requirements and puts them into a query called a locator, which is run against the service directory. The locator returns a list of possible providers, from which the service requestor chooses a new business partner, and the whole process starts again.

When the business partners bind, they create a "virtual" application. The partners temporarily combine their services to meet an immediate need and capture a business process. Once captured, the business process is automated using workflow management technology. The applications are then integrated and work is routed to the appropriate departments.

Considerations in Deploying an SOA

Businesses who want to deploy an SOA face three considerations. First, current object-oriented analysis and design (OOAD) methods don't address the primary elements of an SOA: services, flows, and components for realizing services. Companies must develop or acquire the techniques and processes required to identity, specify, and realize the individual services. The also need the enterprise-wide components to ensure the quality of services.

Second, a shift in corporate mindset must occur. Companies must shift their thinking from strictly a production-oriented goal to the key SOA objective: enhanced customer service. Whether its Web services or another implementation, SOA is designed to provide customers with services that meet their unique requirements. That's a major leap for some companies but making the transition is a must obtain SOA's benefits.

Third, applications created for one business or product line can now be used in a supply chain and be exposed to business partners who might compose, combine, and include them into new applications, creating what some analysts are calling the service ecosystem or a service value -net. Executive must accept this possibility.

Companies need to address these considerations before deploying an SOA. Unless they do, they won't reap the benefits of an SOA. Nor will they have the adaptability need to compete successfully in the days ahead.

The Role of BPM Technology

BPM technology provides the tools and infrastructure to define, simulate, and analyze this business process model. It does so in such a way that the process is manageable from a business perspective using business solution management tools. A dashboard, for example, provides information about execution status and progress in various levels of detail.

Business analysts then compare readouts to key performance indicators to evaluate the processes performance. If a process is not meeting its objectives, executives change the process. It's here where methodologies, like Six Sigma, are implemented as part of a continuous improvement program. The goal, of course, is to provide customers with the highest quality services.

Conclusion

Combining BPM technology and Web services represents more than just an advanced approach to automating business processes. It takes it to a whole new level. With support from SOA, the combination provides benefits cost-conscious enterprises want from their IT solutions – increased flexibility, ease of integration, protection of existing investments, and a quick ROI.



Source by [lakajira]

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